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Numbers have taken on an entire totally different which means throughout this pandemic, and we have all been pinned to their rise and fall with a voyeuristic sense of horror.

Each day case counts. A worldwide demise toll.

However the faceless and anonymous spectre of numbers masks the mourning…and tales of affection, loss, and injustice.

Because the Black Lives Matter protests spilled onto the streets after the demise of George Floyd within the USA, Black lives are being taken by COVID-19 in disproportionate numbers.

“One thing concerning the datafication of lives dehumanizes them”, argues A.I ethics scholar and robotics engineer Inioluwa Deborah Raji.

“If we had been to method our demise counting with the intentionality of particular person mourning, how would we react in another way and who would we lastly discover?”

Meet three main thinkers interrogating numbers to assist us all make which means from mayhem.


Evelynn Hammonds
Chair, Department of the History of Science
Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the Historical past of Science
Professor of African and African American Research
Harvard College

Inioluwa Deborah Raji
Information scientist and robotics engineer
Fellow, Mozilla Foundation

Noreen Goldman
Hughes-Rogers Professor of Demography and Public Affairs
Princeton College

Additional Info

The Discomfort of Death Counts: Mourning through the Distorted Lens of Reported COVID-19 Death Data
(Inioluwa Deborah Raji, Patterns, 2020)

Reductions in 2020 US life expectancy due to COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact on the Black and Latino populations
(Theresa Andrasfay and Noreen Goldman, Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences of the USA, 2021)

Prelude to COVID-19
A collection of conversations hosted by Professor Evelynn Hammonds

Center for Race & Gender in Science & Medicine

Profile of Inioluwa Deborah Raji named one among MIT Expertise Assessment’s Prime Innovators beneath 35 in 2020

How our data encodes systemic racism (article by Inioluwa Deb Raji, MIT Expertise Assessment, 2020)

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